Genetically Engineered Corn For The Production of Hepatitis B Vaccine (Apr 2004)

An article titled "GM maize could produce hepatitis B vaccine" was posted on April 7 on the web site of the Science and Development Network, SciDev.net, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada, and Rockefeller Foundation and which is supported by the scientific journals Nature and Science - The article notes that

" ... Egyptian scientists have genetically engineered maize plants to produce a protein used to make the hepatitis B virus vaccine. They hope that their findings could eventually lead to the creation of an edible vaccine that could be locally produced and would dispense with the need for expensive vaccination programmes ... A vaccine against the disease is already available, but the Egyptian researchers say that edible vaccines produced by GM plants would be cheaper and would not need to be refrigerated. A team of researchers led by Hania El-itriby, director of Cairo's Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute, developed GM maize plants that produce the protein known as HbsAg, which elicits an immune response against the hepatitis B virus and could be used as a vaccine. The scientists are now attempting to increase the amount of the protein produced by the plants. They have not yet tested the effectiveness of the edible vaccine in animals and humans, but expect that tests will start early next year ...

Category